• Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

District 2 County Commission race has Goodson, Smith in race

ByChad J. Johnson

Oct 26, 2022

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After winning a four-candidate Republican primary in August for the Brevard County District 2 commission seat, Tom Goodson will now face non-party candidate Dontavious Smith in the Nov. 8 general election. There are no Democrats in the race.

District 2 includes Avon by the Sea, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral, and Snug Harbor, as well as most of Merritt Island and parts of Cocoa, Rockledge, and Patrick Air Force Base.

The seat has been vacant since April 1, when Commissioner Bryan Lober, a Republican, resigned.

Goodson, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives and former commissioner of the Canaveral Port Authority, won 41.76% of the vote in the primary. The other primary candidates and their voting percentages were former Cocoa Beach Mayor Dave Netterstrom (23.85%), Cocoa Police Officer Christopher Hattaway (21.65%) and real estate agent Joey Cholewa (12 .74%).

Goodson’s views

Goodson, who is a business owner, said he wanted to leverage his previous experience in public government to draw potential voters to his side.

“I want to bring government closer to the people,” he said at an event for Brevard’s Federated Republican female candidates this summer. “When I am elected, I cannot be a good county commissioner without your help. I am looking for your opinion and advice.

For Goodson, he sees many of the problems the county faces in terms of the budget, in the revenue the county generates versus where it will allocate money to fund its priorities.

He said there will always be a conflict between land conservation and development, but added that “in the same way your infrastructure, your buildings, both commercial and residential, are a determining factor in your budget. So, therefore, you are going to have to watch this closely.

Tom Goodson campaigns on Kiwanis Island on primary election day.

“That being said, accountability, knowing how to read the budget, that’s where I’ll be good at,” Goodson added. “These are the things I can help you with.”

When asked how he would ensure the health of the Indian River Lagoon, Goodson said he would look to the state for additional funding through grants.

When asked about the 3% limit on property tax increases, he told the audience that he was in favor of it.

“You voted for the 3% cap,” Goodson said, referring to a voter-approved provision in the Brevard County charter. “I wouldn’t vote to delete this unless it goes to the polls for your vote.”

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Goodson, however, warned of the tough choices that will have to be made in the coming years when it comes to funding county operations.

Goodson offered his perspective on what he wants to prioritize.

“You have departments in your county – the sheriff is one of them,” he said. “Are you going to eliminate them or reduce them? We are going to have to look at the budget in many ways. We are going to have to look into it to support the crime-fighting agencies and protection agencies that keep us safe at all times.

In the end, Goodson tried to bolster his conservative credentials by telling the crowd that he was a fiscal conservative.

“I can tell you that until we manage our money, we can’t expect to get more money,” Goodson said.

“All that said, we cannot expect to print money in Brevard County,” he added. “We have to ask everyone in the county, ‘Can we do better? Can we outsource. Can we do more to serve as much or more than we currently serve? » ”

Smith’s views

Smith’s outlook is shaped by the various businesses he has created.

“I go by ‘Duh Mayuh,'” Smith said at the FLORIDA TODAY Candidates Forum in July. “I bought that name, trademarked it, after I ran for mayor of Cocoa in 2008, after graduating from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida.”

Smith operates a clothing line business, in addition to being an author. He also runs a foundation that offers students the opportunity to visit the various universities and learn about the government of Florida in the capital.

Asked about the issues plaguing the county, Smith turned to marketing.

“Brand management,” Smith said. “The mark for the commissioners, for Brevard County, is not hot right now. It doesn’t matter if it’s policy making or decisions made or not made, or the politics behind the decisions that are made or not made.

Unlike some of the other nominees, Smith supports the County Commission’s decision to approve a $30 million marketing grant for the planned development of Driftwood Capital’s Westin Hotel and Conference Center in Cocoa Beach.

“In fact, I have to congratulate the current commissioners and President (Kristine) Zonka on the deal with Westin,” Smith said. . I want to commend them for really sitting down and analyzing the structure of the contract negotiations, what we get, what we offer, what they get, what they offer.

Smith said he wanted to invest in employee salaries and public works.

He also set out several priorities, should he be elected to the County Commission.

One is the creation of affordable housing for county residents.

“You have to show leniency to the Planning and Zoning Board for developers to grow,” Smith said. “You need to have some sort of agreement on where these developers enter certain areas to grow. We need to negotiate a fixed rate plan for these affordable housing issues.

To address the problem of homelessness, Smith wants to provide direct assistance to vulnerable populations.

“This program gives you, first of all, a work and study voucher to ensure you get a job and to ensure you get enough income,” Smith said.

As for growth and development, Smith wants to modernize the area.

“When you come here, there’s nothing to do,” he said. “It’s a very stagnant and unmodernized environment. I can say that, as a Brevard County native. We have to work on maintaining our beach, with the weather, hurricanes and lots of tornadoes.

He also said he wants to make sure roads are well maintained and infrastructure projects are updated.

Smith ran for mayor of Cocoa in 2008 and 2016.

Campaign finance

Goodson raised $155,645 in cash contributions and $1,000 in in-kind contributions for his primary and general election campaigns. He spent $113,449.25.

Smith raised $3,255.84 in cash contributions and $204 in in-kind contributions for his general election campaign. He spent $3,165.09.

Free seat

Lober said his resignation in April was related to the death of his grandmother.

But it also came at a time when questions were being raised about spending practices at the Lober County commission office.

An anonymous email was sent to members of the county commission detailing the amount he had spent on his purchase card, a type of corporate credit card.

Lober has denied any wrongdoing.

The Brevard County Clerk’s Office is conducting an audit of the expenses of the county commission’s five district offices.

District 4 Race

Republican Rob Feltner will face “ghost” candidate Joseph Michael Aiello in the Nov. 8 election for the District 4 County Commission.

Feltner, a political consultant, won a four-candidate Republican primary on August 23, receiving 55.05 percent of the vote. Feltner previously worked at the Brevard County Real Estate Appraiser’s Office as Director of Government Affairs and Public Relations.

The other August 23 Republican primary candidates in District 4 and their vote percentages were Sandra Sullivan (22.59%), David Armstrong (19.32%) and Margaret Mary Steciuk (3.03%).

Aiello’s last-minute entry into the race sparked controversy when he admitted to FLORIDA TODAY that he had no plans to campaign for the seat and only entered the race only to end the primary, preventing Democrats and independents from voting on Aug. 23. District 4 primary election.

There was no Democratic candidate in the District 4 race.

District 4 includes all or parts of Indian Harbor Beach, Melbourne, Palm Shores, Rockledge, and Satellite Beach, as well as sections of unincorporated Brevard, including Suntree and Viera.

Current District 4 Commissioner Curt Smith was unable to seek re-election this year due to term limits. Smith served two four-year terms.

The tenure of a county commissioner is four years and the position brings in $58,145.36 per year.

The four sitting county commissioners are all Republicans.

Ralph Chapoco is a government and political watchdog journalist. You can reach Chapoco at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @rchapoco.

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